Portstewart Strand

Portstewart Strand, Londonderry (Derry), Northern Ireland
Portstewart Strand, Northern Ireland

The seaside town of Portstewart Strand is located on the north coast of Northern Ireland in the county of Londonderry (Derry). The area is owned and managed by the National Trust; the two mile stretch of beach with golden sand is one of the finest beaches in Northern Ireland. The area is well known for its impressive views attracting a range of visitors.

Portstewart Strand is close by to a choice of local attractions which along with the famous dunes and wildlife offer visitors with a choice of things to see, do and experience. The beach is a popular destination for families, sun bathers and outdoor activities enthusiasts.

Quick Facts

Portstewart Strand beaches:

Region: North Coast of Northern Ireland

County: County Londonderry (Derry)

Main Settlements close by: Portrush, Ballymoney and Coleraine.


Portstewart Strand's beaches are located on Northern Ireland's northern coast northern coast, the location itself is located a short distance from the town of Portstewart. The area is famous for its two mile stretch of sandy beach and is an important nature conservation site. The area is located 60 miles from Belfast making it a convenient and popular destination for those living in Belfast and tourists. London and the surrounding areas in the south east of England.

Portstewart Strand provides a great place for visitors to enjoy a short break. The area is well know for its scenic natural beauty; it is also an area of scientific interest. The area attracts holiday makers throughout the year and has a coveted Blue Flag award for the quality of water making it an ideal place for families to enjoy a seaside break.

Portstewart Strand beach attracts a wide range of visitors including families and those taking part in activities and outdoor pursuits including swimming, horse riding, surfing, wind surfing, canoeing and jet skiing. For walking enthusiasts there are a number of scenic walks to enjoy with marked nature trails that provide wonderful views of the North Coast.

Highlights at Portstewart Strand include the dunes that include butterflies and wild flowers, the dunes formed around 6,000 years ago and some can be close to 100 feet high. The Barmouth Birdhide is popular for bird watching enthusiasts where visitors can watch the birds feed in the Bann Estuary. Barmouth is a wildlife and nature; here visitors can see a number of species including waders, waterfowl and nesting birds throughout the year.

Wildlife is evident in the area the dunes are home to wild flowers, moths and butterflies; whilst seals, dolphins and whales can see seen from the beach.The Causeway Coast Way walking route starts from Portstewart Strand, the 33 mile walk goes to Ballycastle. Walkers can enjoy some splendid views and interesting scenery and sites along the trail; highlights include the White Rocks outside Portrush, the Giant's Causeway, Dunlace Castle and the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge. The trail offers a great way to see local sites of interest.

Local facilities including a shop catering for beach accessories, toilets and external showers. There are a number of accommodation options in the area including holidays parks with tent pitches and caravans alongside bed and breakfast accommodation and self catering options.


Location north coast of Northern Ireland, Portstewart Strand is assessable from across Northern Ireland. From Belfast it is 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes, from Londonderry/Derry it is also approx 50 minutes to 1 hour by car. From Ballymoney it is 20 minutes, Ballymena, 50 minutes and 1 hour 35 minutes from Lisburn. From Dublin in the Republic of Ireland, Portstewart Strand is approx 266 km to the north and approx 3 hour to 3 hours 15 minutes drive.

Tourist Information

The Visitor Information Centres located in the towns of Portrush and Coleraine are located at Portrush Town Hall and Coleraine Town Hall. Both towns are located within 5 miles of Portstewart Strand. The Visitor Information Centres provide visitors with useful information, help, advice and tips on the local areas.

Visitors will find knowledgeable staff with valuable local knowledge with information on local attractions, places of interest, things to see and do, postcards, souvenirs, along with local advice and tips. A visit to the tourist information centres provides a good first port of call for visitors helping to better plan and organise trips in and around the local area. At the centres visitors can find out about local events, public transport options and accommodation facilities.

Local Accommodation

Local Accommodation includes a choice of hotels that include historic and contemporary hotels, local B & B’s, Inns, Guest Houses, Self Catering houses, holiday homes and cottages catering for a range of budgets. There are a choice of hotels offering inspiring sea front views. Local accommodation is available in Portstewart Strand, Portrush, Coleraine and Ballymoney.

Nearby Cities and Towns

Local Cities and Towns include the towns of Ballymoney, Portrush and the city of Belfast, the local facilities, amenities, transport links and accommodation available mean they are popular places for visitors to base themselves from when visiting Ballycastle and surrounding areas.

The town of Ballymoney is located 13 miles to the south east of Portstewart Strand. The compact historic town is one of the oldest in Northern Ireland and includes a number of notable historic buildings in the town centre. The Old Church Tower is the oldest building in the town, dating back to the 17th century. Other historic buildings include the Town Clock and the Masonic Hall that date back to the 18th century.

Local facilities include a number of small independent shops along with well known high street chains offering a choice of shops along with a choice of bars, pubs, restaurants and cafes serving a choice of cuisines. There is also a choice of accommodation available in Ballymoney making it a popular destination for visitors exploring the region.

Local attractions include Ballymoney Museum showcasing the history, life and times of the area, there are a number of exhibits on show including those dating back to the Bronze and Medieval periods and includes a range of memorabilia and artefacts. Riverside Park includes 40 acres of parkland with walking routes; Benvarden Gardens includes one of the oldest estates in Northern Ireland, the famous gardens date back to the 19th century, visitors can explore the gardens and enjoy scenic woodland walks in a scenic setting.

Portrush is located approx 5 miles to the north east of Portstewart Strand. The small seaside town is well known for its three beaches; the White Rocks, East Strand and West Strand and the town is home to the Royal Portrush Golf Club, a world renowned links golf course.

Historically the town has been a permanent settlement since the 12th/13th centuries; once a small fishing town, over the years Portrush has grown over the years as a popular tourist destination. The town offers accommodation with a number of hotels, eateries and restaurants making it a popular place for visitors to base themselves from when visiting Ballycastle and the Antrim coast.

Local attractions include Barrys Amusements, the largest amusement park in Ireland. The park includes a number of indoor and outdoor rides and attractions with something for the whole family from scary roller coasters, to simulators to carrousels there is something for everyone.

Waterworld is one of the leading indoor attractions in Northern Ireland, the water park features adventures pool, giant water slides, ten pin bowling and more. Dunluce Castle is located close by to Portrush, the now ruined castle dates back to the 13th century, the castle is famous for its location with steep drops on either side.

The city of Belfast is located 60 miles to the south east of Portstewart Strand. Belfast is the largest city in Northern Ireland and home to a number of visitor attractions. Belfast is a centre for industry, arts, finance, high education and culture in Northern Ireland. Historically the city played a key role in the Industrial Revolution and over the years has been a centre for the linen industry, tobacco and shipbuilding.

Belfast offers visitors a range of accommodation options catering for all budgets, a choice of bars, pubs, eateries, cafes and restaurants serving Irish and international cuisines and a choice of facilities and amenities making it a popular destination for visitors to base themselves from when exploring the area.

The city includes a number of street markets, carnivals, fairs and entertainment. Local attractions include Belfast Zoo; home to over 140 species of animals, established back in 1934, the zoo is one of the leading visitor attractions in Northern Ireland attracting approx 250,000 visitors annually. Visitors can see giraffes, elephants, penguins, monkeys, bears, lions, tigers and much more. The zoo plays a leading role in international conservation and breeding programmes designed to help protect many endangered species.

Ulster Museum is located in the botanic gardens in Belfast and is the largest museum in Northern Ireland. Visitors can find collections on local history, fine and applied art, geology, zoology, archaeology and botany. The museum includes exhibits of birds mammals, plants and collections of minerals, rocks and fossils.

Titanic Belfast is a monument and visitor attraction that has quickly established itself as one of the leading attractions in Northern Ireland since it opened back in 2012. Located inside a six storey building visitors can explore a number of galleries detailing the fascinating storey behind the ill fated Titanic, its history, conception, construction, launch, voyage and fateful end. The galleries include interactive features and there are audio tours in several languages for visitors to learn more.

How to Get There

Ballycastle is accessible by both car and public transport.

By Car:

Ballycastle is located approx 60 miles from Belfast via the M2, A26 and A29. The approx journey time is 1 hour 30 minutes to 1 hour 40 minutes depending on traffic, route and time of day.

By Train:

The are regular train services from Great Victorian Street train station in Belfast To Coleraine University train station, with an approx journey time of 1 hour 35 minutes. From Coleraine there are taxis available to Portstewart Strand with a journey time of 10-15 minutes or from Coleraine Bus centre the bus service number 140A operated by Ulster Bus goes to Promenade Portstewart

By Bus/Coach:

There are regular buses available from Belfast to Portstewart via Coleraine. From Belfast bus service number 218 operated by Goldline Express goes to Coleraine Bus centre and from Coleraine Bus centre the bus service number 140A operated by Ulster Bus goes to Promenade Portstewart. The approx journey time is 2 hours 30 minutes to 2 hours 45 minutes depending on connections, time of day and traffic. For further details on public transport in Northern Ireland please see: Translink


For Local Search and Directions see: Portstewart Strand beach Map

Tips & Other Considerations

The weather and climate can be unpredictable across the UK, there can be elements of all four seasons in one day. Ensure you check the weather forecast before you travel and have the correct clothing and footwear including appropriate footwear, raincoat and umbrella.

Follow travel advice and remain alert, vigilant and aware of your belongings at all times especially your wallet/purse and valuables and ensure they are hidden away from public view. If you have a bag try to use a shoulder bag with a good quality, strong strap, that is put across your shoulder not on your shoulder making it more difficult for anyone to take your bag.

If you are travelling by car to Portstewart Strand in Londonderry (Derry) ensure you are well prepared with maps and Sat Nav to aid your journey, particularly if you are not familiar with the local area and roads. Use the journey planner for door to door directions. Check traffic updates before you travel.

If you are looking for car parking in and around the beach and surrounding areas, ensure you fully understand the rules, regulations & charges for car parks and street parking. The rules & regulations can be complex & confusing if you are unclear, it is wise not to park there.

If you are travelling by public transport, check for service updates prior to beginning your journey for any delays, disruption or cancellations to services that may impact on your journey. Ensure you have the service timetables for the trains, trams, buses and coaches. Remember when the last services are and ensure you make it to the train/bus/coach stops well in time to avoid missing the service.

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